Page images

Lewinsky created and that he used during the deposition was now in jeopardy. He needed not only to contact Ms. Lewinsky, but also to obtain corroboration from his trusted secretary, Ms. Currie. At around 7 p.m. on the night of the deposition, the President called Ms. Currie and asked that she come in the following day, a Sunday. Currie 7/22/98 GJT at 154–55. Ms. Currie could not recall the President ever before calling her that late at home on a Saturday night. Currie 1/27/98 GJT at 69.

In the early morning hours of January 18, 1998-i.e. the night of the deposition, President Clinton learned about the Drudge Report mentioning Ms. Lewinsky released earlier that day. Clinton 8/ 17/98 GJT at 142–43. Between 11:49 a.m. and 2:55 p.m., Mr. Jordan and President Clinton had three phone calls. At about 5 p.m., Ms. Currie met with President Clinton. Currie 1/27/98 GJT at 67. He told her that he had just been deposed and that the attorneys asked several questions about Ms. Lewinsky. Currie 1/27/98 GJT at 69–70. This, incidentally, violated Judge Wright's gag order prohibiting any discussions about the deposition testimony. He then made a series of statements to Ms. Currie:

(1) I was never really alone with Monica, right?

(2) You were always there when Monica was there,

(3) Monica came on to me, and I never touched her,
(4) You could see and hear everything, right?

(5) She wanted to have sex with me, and I cannot do

that. Currie 1/27/98 GJT at 70–75, 7/22/98 GJT at 6–7.

During Betty Currie's grand jury testimony, she was asked whether she believed that the President wished her to agree with the statement:

Q. Would it be fair to say, then-based on the way he stated [these five points) and the demeanor that he was using at the time that he stated it to you—that he wished you to agree with that statement?

A. I can't speak for him, but

Q. How did you take it? Because you told us at these
[previous) meetings in the last several days that that is
how you took it.

A. (Nodding)
Q. And you're nodding your head, “yes”, is that correct?
A. That's correct.

Q. Okay, with regard to the statement that the Presi-
dent made to you, "You remember I was never really alone
with Monica, right, was that also a statement that, as far
as you took, that he wished you to agree with that?

A. Correct.
Currie 1/27/98 GJT at 74.

In the grand jury, President Clinton was questioned about his intentions when he made those five statements to Ms. Currie in his office on that Sunday afternoon. He stated:

And what I wanted to establish was that Betty was there at all other times in the complex, and I wanted to know what Betty's memory was about what she heard, what she could hear. And what I did not know was—I did not know that. And I was trying to figure out in a hurry because I knew something was up.

[merged small][ocr errors]

So, I was not trying to get Betty Currie to say something that was untruthful. I was trying to get as much information as quickly as I could.

[blocks in formation]

* *

* I thought we were going to be deluged by the press comments. And I was trying to refresh my memory

about what the facts were. Clinton 8/17/98 GJT at 54, 56, 131. Though Ms. Currie would later intimate that she did not necessarily feel pressured by President Clinton, she did state that she felt he was seeking her agreement (or disagreement) with those statements. Currie 7/22/98 GJT at 27.

Logic tells us that his plea that he was just trying to refresh his memory is contrived and false. First, consider his options after he left his deposition:

(1) He could abide by Judge Wright's order to remain silent and not divulge any details of his deposition;

(2) He could defy Judge Wright's order, and call Ms. Currie on the phone and ask her open ended questions (i.e., "What do you remember about * * *?')); or

(3) He could call Ms. Currie and arrange a Sunday afternoon meeting—a time when the fewest distractions exist and the presence of White House staff is minimal. He chose the third

option. He made sure that this was a face-to-face meeting—not a telephone call. He made sure that no one else was present when he spoke to her. He made sure that he had the meeting in his office, an area where he was comfortable and could utilize its power and prestige to influence her potential testimony.

When Ms. Currie testified before the grand jury, she could not recall whether she had another one-on-one discussion with President Clinton on Tuesday, January 20 or Wednesday, January 21. But she did state that on one of those days, he summoned her back to his office. At that time, he recapped their Sunday afternoon discussion in the Oval Office. When he spoke to her in this second meeting, he spoke in the same tone and demeanor that he used in his January 18 Sunday session. Currie 1/27/98 GJT at 70–75, 7/22/ 98 GJT at 6–7. Ms. Currie stated that the President may have mentioned that she might be asked about Monica Lewinsky. Currie 1/24/98 302 at 8.

During these meetings, President Clinton made short, clear, understandable, declarative statements telling Ms. Currie what his testimony was. He was not interested in what she knew. Rather, he did not want his personal secretary to contradict him. The only way to ensure that was by telling her what to say, not asking her what she remembered. One does not refresh someone else's memory by telling that person what he or she remembers. One certainly does not make declarative statements to someone regarding factual scenarios of which the listener was unaware.

Ms. Currie could not possibly have any personal knowledge of the facts that the President was asking. Ms. Currie could not know if they were ever alone. If they were, Ms. Currie was not there. She could not know that the President never touched Monica. President Clinton was not trying to refresh his recollection instead, it was witness tampering pure and simple.

President Clinton essentially admitted to making these statements when he knew they were not true. Consequently, he painted himself into a legal corner. Understanding the seriousness of the President "coaching" Ms. Currie, his attorneys have argued that those statements to her could not constitute obstruction because she had not been subpoenaed, and the President did not know that she was a potential witness at the time. This argument is refuted by both the law and the facts. The Eighth Circuit rejected this argument stating:

[A] person may be convicted of obstructing justice if he urges or persuades a prospective witness to give false testimony. Neither must the target be scheduled to testify at the time of the offense, nor must he or she actually give

testimony at a later time. United States v. Shannon, 836 F.2d 1125, 1128 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 486 U.S. 1058 (1988), citing, e.g., United States v. Friedland, 660 F.2d 919, 931 (3d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 456 U.S. 989 (1982). Indeed, under the witness tampering statute, there need not even be a proceeding pending, 18 U.S.C. $ 1512(e)(1). As discussed, President Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky concocted a cover story that brought Ms. Currie into the fray as a corroborating witness. True to this scheme, President Clinton invoked Ms. Currie's name frequently as a witness who could corroborate his false and misleading testimony about the Lewinsky affair. For example, during his deposition, when asked whether he was alone with Ms. Lewinsky, he said that he was not alone with her or that Ms. Currie was there with Ms. Lewinsky. Clinton 8/17/98 GJT at 58. When asked about the last time he saw Ms. Lewinsky, which was December 28, 1997, he falsely testified that he only recalled that she was there to see Ms. Currie. Clinton 1/17/98 Dep. at 70. He also told the Jones' lawyers to "ask Betty" whether Ms. Lewinsky was alone with him or with Ms. Currie in the White House between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. Clinton 1/17/98 Dep. at 64-66. Asked whether Ms. Lewinsky sent packages to him, he stated that Ms. Currie handled packages for him. Clinton 1/17/98 Dep. at 64. Asked whether he may have assisted in any way with Ms. Lewinsky's job search, he stated that he thought Ms. Currie suggested Mr. Jordan talk to Ms. Lewinsky, and that Ms. Lewinsky asked Ms. Currie to ask someone to talk to Ambassador Richardson about a job at the United Nations. Clinton 1/17/98 Dep. at 72–74.

Ms. Currie was a prospective witness, and President Clinton clearly wanted her to be deposed, as his "ask Betty" testimony demonstrates. He claims that he called Ms. Currie into work on a Sunday night only to find out what she knew. But he knew the truth about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, and if he had told

the truth during his deposition the day before, then he would have no reason to worry about what Ms. Currie knew. More importantly, the President's demeanor, Ms. Currie's reaction to his demeanor, and the suggested lies clearly prove that the President was not merely interviewing Ms. Currie. Rather, he was looking for corroboration for his false cover-up, and that is why he coached her.

Soon after his Sunday meeting with Ms. Currie, at 5:12 p.m., the flurry of telephone calls began looking for Ms. Lewinsky. Between 5:12 p.m. and 8:28 p.m., Ms. Currie paged Ms. Lewinsky four times. At 11:02 p.m., President Clinton called Ms. Currie at home to ask if she has reached Ms. Lewinsky. Currie 7/22/98 GJT at 160.

The following morning, January 19, Ms. Currie continued to work diligently for President Clinton. Between 7:02 a.m. and 8:41 a.m., she paged Ms. Lewinsky another five times. After the 8:41 a.m. page, Ms. Currie called President Clinton at 8:43 a.m. and said that she was unable to reach Ms. Lewinsky. Currie 8/22/98 GJT at 161–62. One minute later, at 8:44 a.m., she again paged Ms. Lewinsky. This time, Ms. Currie's page stated: “Family Emergency," apparently in an attempt to alarm Ms. Lewinsky into calling back. That may have been President Clinton's idea because Ms. Currie had just spoken with him. He was quite concerned because he called Ms. Currie only six minutes later, at 8:50 a.m. Immediately thereafter, at 8:51 a.m., Ms. Currie tries a different tactic sending the message: "Good news.” Ms. Currie said that she was trying to encourage Ms. Lewinsky to call, but there was no sense of "urgency.” Currie 7/22/98 GJT at 165. Ms. Currie's recollection of why she was calling was again unclear. She said at one point that she believes President Clinton asked her to call Ms. Lewinsky, and she thought she was calling just to tell her that her name came up in the deposition. Currie 7/22/98 GJT at 162. Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed. It was no surprise that her name came up in the deposition. There was another and more important reason the President needed to get in touch with her.

At 8:56 a.m., President Clinton telephoned Mr. Jordan who then joined in the activity. Over a course of twenty-four minutes, from 10:29 to 10:53 a.m., Mr. Jordan called the White House three times, paged Ms. Lewinsky, and called Ms. Lewinsky's attorney, Frank Carter. Between 10:53 a.m. and 4:54 p.m., there are continued calls between Mr. Jordan, Ms. Lewinsky's attorney, and individuals at the White House.

Later that afternoon, matters deteriorated for President Clinton. At 4:54 p.m., Mr. Jordan called Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter informed Mr. Jordan that he had been told he no longer represented Ms. Lewinsky. Jordan 3/5/98 GJT at 141. Mr. Jordan then made feverish attempts to reach President Clinton or someone at the White House to tell them the bad news, as represented by the six calls between 4:58 p.m. and 5:22 p.m. Mr. Jordan said that he tried to relay this information to the White House because “[t]he President asked me to get Monica Lewinsky a job,” and he thought it was "information that they ought to have.” Jordan 6/9/98 GJT at 45–46. Mr. Jordan then called Mr. Carter back at 5:14 p.m. to "go over" what they had already talked about. Jordan 3/5/98 GJT at 146. Mr. Jordan finally reached the President at 5:56 p.m., and tells him that Mr. Carter had been fired. Jordan 6/9/98 GJT at 54.

This activity occurred because it was important for the President of the United States to find Monica Lewinsky to learn to whom she was talking. Ms. Currie was in charge of contacting Ms. Lewinsky. President Clinton had just completed a deposition in which he provided false and misleading testimony about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. She was a co-conspirator in hiding this relationship from the Jones' attorneys, and he was losing control over her. He never got complete control over her again.

But President Clinton's efforts to obtain false corroboration did not end there. On Wednesday, January 21, 1998, the Washington Post published a story entitled “Clinton Accused of Urging Aide to Lie; Starr Probes Whether President Told Woman to Deny Alleged Affair to Jones' Lawyers." The White House learned the substance of the Post story on the evening of January 20, 1998.

After President Clinton learned of that story, he made a series of telephone calls. At 12:08 a.m. he called his attorney, Mr. Bennett, and they had a conversation. The next morning, Mr. Bennett was quoted in the Post stating: “The President adamantly denies he ever had a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and she has confirmed the truth of that.” He added, “This story seems ridiculous and I frankly smell a rat."

After that conversation, President Clinton had a half hour conversation with White House Deputy Counsel Bruce Lindsey. At 1:16 a.m., he called Ms. Currie and spoke to her for 20 minutes. He then called Mr. Lindsey again. At 6:30 a.m. the President called Mr. Jordan. After that, he again conversed with Bruce Lindsey.

This flurry of activity was a prelude to the stories which President Clinton would soon inflict on top White House aides and advisors. On the morning of January 21, 1998, he met with White House Chief of Staff, Erskine Bowles and his two deputies, John Podesta and Sylvia Matthews. Mr. Bowles recalled entering the President's office at 9:00 a.m. that morning. He then recounts President Clinton's immediate words as he and two others entered the Oval Office:

And he looked up at us and he said the same thing he
said to the American people. He said, “I want you to know
I did not have sexual relationships with this woman,
Monica Lewinsky. I did not ask anybody to lie. And when

the facts came out, you'll understand.” Bowles 4/2/98 GJT at 84. After he made that blanket denial, Mr. Bowles responded:

I said, “Mr. President, I don't know what the facts are. I don't know if they're good, bad, or indifferent. But whatever they are, you ought to get them out. And you ought

to get them out right now.” Bowles 4/2/98 GJT at 84. When counsel asked whether President Clinton responded to Bowles's suggestion that he tell the truth, Mr. Bowles responded: “I don't think he made any response, but he didn't disagree with me." Bowles 4/2/98 GJT at 84.

Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta also recalled a meeting with President Clinton on the morning of January 21, 1998. He testified

« PreviousContinue »